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Starting and Running Outdoor Bootcamps…Part 2


Running Fitness Boot Camps – Part 2
Taking Advantage of the Great Outdoors!

Sarah Ripple

“Part 1” of this series introduced three points that I feel are of utmost importance when planning and running a fitness boot camp business: location, equipment, and exercise selection. I am going to expand on my first point and share with you why I feel that my program has been so successful outdoors.

First of all, think about the fact that the average person spends most of their day indoors. Many people sit at a desk for eight hours a day under fluorescent light, staring at a computer screen. I don’t know about you, but the thought of sitting at a desk for most of the day turns my stomach! I am fortunate to work in a profession where I must be active and the scenery changes often. I have heard “I love being outside” and other similar comments time and time again from my boot campers. No one ever complains about feeling crowded and we never run out of space. They thrive on the sunlight and fresh air! It is healthy and liberating to get outside and get moving!

Obviously weather is a huge factor when running a successful outdoor program. It has never been a big problem for me! I have several locations we utilize if it is raining, and I make sure to send out an email to the groups with sufficient advance notice if we are meeting at a “rain location.” If it is a severe thunderstorm and lightning is an issue, I use common sense and reschedule the workout. Again, contacting my boot campers by email is the easiest way to do this, and they all know to check their phones prior to heading out the door!

I do not hold my workouts outdoors in the winter! During the cold months I pay a small fee to rent out an indoor location. I figure I would much rather be skiing down a mountain in the cold than doing burpees, jumping jacks, and pushups, so why would I expect my boot campers to feel any different? They are thankful to be out of the cold wind, and so am I. During these months, I take advantage of being able to use more equipment than when we are outside. I bring out the kettlebells, suspension training setups, furniture sliders, ropes, focus mitts and boxing gloves. I even bring out the huge WaveMaster XXL heavy bag, which my ladies love. They wail on that punching bag! It’s a great outlet! So, even though I prefer to hold my workouts outdoors, I am thankful for being able to get inside during the winter and change things up a bit.

Aside from being out in the fresh air and wide-open space, another reason I love holding my boot camp workouts outdoors is the fact that I am challenged to utilize the surroundings. You can’t do hill sprints indoors! It is easy to have my boot campers jog a few laps in between exercise sets, and we have numerous paths, which keeps things fresh. I would much rather have them perform plyometric movements in the grass as opposed to on concrete because it’s easier on the joints. I also feel it is safer to perform various cardio & sprint drills in the grass. There are ledges, benches, tables and steps available for step-ups, push-ups, stair drills, etc.  Landmarks such as a building or trees come in handy during “traveling” circuits where my boot campers work at their own pace. I can have them perform workouts where for example, they perform 10 push-ups at “home,” sprint to the opposite end of the “field” where they perform 10 burpees, and then jog around the “big loop” around the building. The possibilities truly are endless!

Needless to say, I really enjoy running my boot camps outside. The biggest danger is the occasional flying golf ball, and I have had one boot camper that was made the “target” of a bird doing his business overhead. Aside from this, I feel it is healthy and fun to get outdoors and get movin’!

Sarah Rippel is a fitness professional with over 16 years experience working with individuals and groups. Her business, Rippel Effect Fitness (http://www.fitprosarah.com), is best known in Baton Rouge, LA for it’s dynamic boot camp workouts that challenge all fitness levels


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